Do you really want Asians cast in Hollywood roles? Yes. My qualm about it? It doesn’t seem consistent. Everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon with movies that did terrible at the box office. There are multiple sites dedicated to The Last Airbender with even a term coined for it (eg. racebending), and we won’t even go to that evil place called Dragonball: Evolution. In fact, for every bad movie that could have starred an Asian actor or actress, it seems like everyone has something to say about it.
But would the movie actually be better off with an Asian American in that place? I would venture to disagree because the film was bad. Maybe it was the directing, maybe it was the acting, or maybe the script just sucked but who knows. Maybe it’s the culmination of all factors. In any case, are people not happy with the fact that Asians are not represented and tied to a bad movie? It’s like a gamer asking Uwe Boll to direct a film for a favorite video game. (In case you don’t know, Uwe Boll’s directing has lead to many failed game based movie interpretations.)
So while the bad films get all the ire, the good ones such as The Departed rarely seem to receive the same level of hate. I mean, let’s face it. That particular $130+ million grossing film was good. Then again, it was a complete rip off the original 2002 movie, Infernal Affairs from Hong Kong. They may have changed the mafia and the location, and even re-wrote the script, but if you watch both films, you’ll realize that they’re the same movie.
So my question is, where’s the hate for The Departed? If we’re going to scream bloody murder about Asian Americans not being portrayed well, then all of them are culpable and not just the bad films.
What’s interesting about all of this is that while I’m all for the promotion of Asian America within Hollywood, I can also understand why Hollywood hasn’t picked up the torch. Frankly, it’s all about money and demographics. While most Asian Americans want to believe that everyone would watch things that are little more niche, you have to remember that not every movie theater in the country is quite as “liberal” as they come. In fact, plenty of good movies t do absolutely poorly in the box office because of the thought that the demographics would actually be open to it. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is a perfect example of a fantastic movie that targeted a niche but tiny demographic when compared to the larger picture of American movie-goers.
Going back to my original statement, my personal opinion is that we as Asian Americans need to stand up or shut up. We need less of this wishy-washy “maybe the bad films get some of my hate because everyone else is doing it” crap. No. Any Asian “inspired” films should be met with angry cries when an Asian actor or actress isn’t a lead role. I mean, hell. We’re finally making it to prime time television. Isn’t it about time that we started taking on the movie industry too?